Ted Bundy (2002)

Some inventive slasher sequences & happy-go-lucky dissonance can’t save this overblown Bundy flick wasting its resembling lead on a forcibly-acted, hyper, on-the-nose portrayal misunderstanding his core essence: guise of normalcy. 5.2/10.

Ted Bundy (Michael Reilly Burke) is a seemingly well-adjusted law student with a bright future ahead. Intelligent and good-looking, Ted has little trouble earning the affections of Lee (Boti Ann Bliss), a lovely woman who’s willing to look beyond and accept her fiancé’s sometimes lascivious sexual appetites. But little can prepare Lee for the brutal crimes Ted is about to commit: a six-state crime spree comprising over a hypothesized 100+ sex slayings.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review: Bundy. Shivers should be going up your spine right now, as they did across America in the late ’70’s when one man enacted a reign of horror so bludgeoning it could have resulted in 100+ slayings and coined the now-ubiquitous term “serial killer.” Bright’s adaptation of his life storywastes no time getting to the macabre, delving headfirst into it. As a friday night horror-watch, it succeeds with some inventive slasher sequences and shrewd happy-go-lucky dissonance with the macabre going on indicative of his warped personality for an effectively-chilly turn. The locational settings are fine and (mostly) accurate recreating some of Bundy’s most infamous kills and charades like the cast/sailboat at Lake Sammamich and Chi Omega Sorority House. Michael Reilly Burke has a spot-on resemblance of America’s most infamous murdered, and has scenes of pure terror effected on screen getting into and effectively translating the central role. However, it mostly goes downhill otherwise. While Burke shows signs of what could’ve been a great performance, his skills and services are wasted in this piss-poor characterization fundemantally missing what Bundy’s core essence and truest horror was: the semblance of total normalcy in appearance; the idea that he could be anyone you think you know. They hint very lightly at this in one line in the end uttered by Boti Bliss in her (otherwise-unconvincing) performance, but the rest of the film characterizes Ted as a hyper, freaky creep while pushing Burke through the peg hole making him reactively overact and spoil the suave smooth-talking that was the only reason Bundy was able to do such a scale of horror and get away for it while slipping under the radar for years. The film’s also riddled with plot holes like him literally carrying a body in a sheet out to his car and walking right by a family of four who – *somehow* – are not even remotely bothered or inquisitive about the scene. Although 2002’s Bundy has a few inventive slasher sequences delivering on what you came to watch, as well as a shrewd happy-go-lucky dissonance showing glimpses of understanding its subject, it wastes its resembling lead on a a forcibly-acted, over-hyper and on-the-nose portrayal of the man misunderstanding his core normalcy essence that made him such a force to be reckoned with back in 1970’s America.

Overall Score: 5.2/10